Managing examinations


From a management perspective there are a number of key activities that Unit Chairs need to complete during the trimester to ensure that the examinations are prepared and administered accurately and securely.

Examination schedule

It is important for unit chairs to understand dates around the exam period, submitting their exams for approval, and finalising results. These dates are set by DSA. To find this document:

The Executive and Business Services team will also notify unit chairs of key deadlines as they approach.

Examination Details Report (EDR) 

Preparation of the unit examination paper (if required) takes place in two phases. The first phase (around week two of the trimester) requires the Unit Chair to complete an online form describing the examination requirements for the unit. The EDR is accessed using your Callista password.

Unit Chairs are asked to submit their exam requirements (i.e. length of exam, whether the exam is open or closed book, the use of calculators, etc.), using the online Exam Paper Submission (EPS) system just after the commencement of each trimester. Care needs to be taken to ensure all details are accurate, particularly around resources to be provided in the exam e.g. script books. This process is coordinated in the Faculty by the Corporate Services staff who will liaise with Unit Chairs. 

Examination Paper Submission 

Once you have prepared your examination papers and solutions they need to be moderated. A minimum of two different examination papers at least 75% different need to be prepared. You will be advised as to who your moderator is. Once you and your moderator have agreed on the content of the papers, you are ready to submit.

This second phase of examination preparation occurs around week six of the trimester and requires the submission of examination papers. Once you submit the examination papers it will be forwarded to the nominated reviewer who is the second member of the Assessment Panel.

If your unit does not have a formal examination listed then you will not be required to complete this process. 

Reminders will be sent to staff well in advance of the due dates. Exam papers are to be checked by the second member of the Assessment Panel via the online EPS system. 

If a special or supplementary exam is required, a request will be sent to the Unit Chair that was appointed during the relevant study period which the special/sup exam is required for.  The supplementary/special paper should be 75% different from the original paper and must specify on the cover page and header that it is a supplementary/special paper. This paper needs to be hand delivered not uploaded to the system, needs manual paperwork prepared and signed off on. Also dates for submission may or may not coincide with current exam deadlines

The timelines on when these requests will be received varies depending on the trimester it relates to, refer to the Assessments Schedule of Important Dates for the relevant year. DSA’s Assessment wiki page has more information on the exam paper submission process    

Examination Paper Collection 

Following the exam, Unit Chairs are required to collect the exam papers (in person) from DSA-Assessments on their home campus. Staff will be informed by email when papers are available for collection. Unit Chairs will be asked to verify the number of examination papers collected. 

Examination Marking 

Once the teaching period finishes the Unit Chair should ensure that all marks and grades are finalised within approximately two weeks. If there is an examination in the unit then you will need to arrange for marking and, if multiple markers are used, then appropriate moderation processes are employed to ensure comparability.  

Before a fail grade is recorded for any student, the Unit Chair must ensure that all failed assessment items are second marked. The Faculty Assessment Guidelines provide more detail on these processes. In exceptional circumstances (ie. very large units) other staff may be involved. When papers are second marked this should be evidenced on the exam paper.

Examination Feedback

Students may request feedback from the Unit Chair on their performance in an examination within four weeks of results release. Students do not have to wait until Review of Results applications close to receive feedback. Students are encouraged to review their exam paper before submitting a review of results or an admin review of results. Many students once they have seen their paper will raise the futility of asking for a review.

Students can view their exam papers only when seeking feedback in person from a Unit Chair. Students who request feedback via phone, Skype or email must not be provided with a copy of the exam paper for viewing and/or shown the paper on a webcam (or similar) where a screenshot might be taken. 

Feedback is a chance for Unit Chairs to discuss areas for development arising from a student’s exam. It is not a forum for students to question the assignment of individual marks or work through a paper looking for marking “errors.”  Students should not be left alone without their exam paper, they should not be able to take a phot of the exam, they are not provided with the solution or marking guide. They should not bring their friends with them to an exam paper review. Exam paper reviews should be undertaken one on one, not with groups of students. Be careful not to change a mark for students due to marking errors without considering the implications of this for the whole cohort. For example if you think one marker was too hard, and you increase the mark for one students, in reality all students’ marks for that question/marker needs to be reviewed.

In cases where students try to use feedback as a means of questioning academic judgement, students should not be directed to apply for Review of Results. Statements like “I thought I did better” or “I don’t agree with the marking of this assessment” are not grounds for review. If students are aggressive in the review of exam papers, ask the student to leave and if necessary seek assistance from another staff member and refer the student to the Faculty Academic Integrity Committee.

Storage and Destruction of Examination Material

You will be required to securely store your exam papers in your office during this feedback period, after which Corporate Services will coordinate a Faculty collection of the papers to be stored for six months before they will then be destroyed.  

If for some reason you need to request a student’s paper, liaise with your Corporate Services team member who will assist you to retrieve it. This may occur in a case when a student may request a review of result after the standard review period.  

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